By 90Min
October 17, 2017

Picture yourself settling down in your lounge all ready to watch the England game, or making the journey up to the national stadium to watch the Three Lions pit their wits against a minnow of a country with expectation levels at an optimum for a home win. 

You hear the commentator mention the lowly ranking of the opposition, and preconceive an easy victory due to the vast array of talent at our disposal, imagining that the likes of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling will run riot. 

However, instead of scintillating, merciless attacking football, what you see instead is the likes of Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Jake Livermore racking up a mind-numbingly painful amount of sideways passes before we inevitably win 1-0 courtesy of a dubious penalty or a scrappy goal more commonly associated with the likes of San Marino. 

You have to ask yourself why this group of players that are supposedly the 'creme de la creme' of the country look so bereft of any individual creativity and attacking initiative, and England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd's recent comments go some way to understanding why. 

Following his side's 3-1 win over Scotland, Boothroyd called on his young, expressive stars to stop 'showboating', to 'keep things simple' and stop being so 'elaborate on the ball', comments that reek of a man embodying the entire England set up's intent on coaching the individual brilliance out of their players.  

It is perhaps indicative of why exuberant talents such as Wilfried Zaha were overlooked for the national team for so long, the Crystal Palace man in particular ultimately growing impatient and joining up with the Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, where he has shone in a team that encourages individualism and doesn't quash it. 

The recent comments may also go some way to uncovering why the likes of Henderson - an exciting box to box youngster whilst coming through at Sunderland - has now become a stale, boring midfielder conditioned by discouraging top level football coaching.

It is because of this negligence towards the nation's youth that other countries, particularly south American based nations such as Brazil and Argentina, find themselves boasting some of the world's best flair players in the likes of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho - both of whom undoubtedly learnt their trade in the streets of Brazil and were able to transmit their raw skills onto the world stage without being tampered with. 

The issue can even be traced all the way back to grassroots level in Sunday league, where children from as young as five, six, seven, and eight years of age find their ability to think for themselves clouded by screaming parents and 'coaches' on the touchline dictating their every move. 

Gareth Copley/GettyImages

The entire setup of the national team from the youth levels all the way to the senior team needs to be revamped, in order to take the shackles off the players and allow them to express the unique talents that enabled them to catch the eye of onlooking scouts in the first place.

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